Tags Posts tagged with "Delta"

Delta

8

I am re-publishing this post as a reminder that as of October 1, 2016, Delta Skymiles prices for Business Class awards between North American and Australia, Asia, Africa, and South America are becoming more expensive. Economy awards between the United States and South Africa, the Southwest Pacific, and the Middle East are getting cheaper however. 

If you have been saving your Skymiles for a Business Class award to any of those areas, consider booking so your trip is completed before October 1. The booking date is irrelevant, only the travel dates matter. 

Delta has devalued its miles with no notice (again.)

Effective immediately, awards for travel from October 1, 2016 on are going up in price to:

  • North Asia in Business Class
  • Southeast Asia in Business Class
  • Southwest Pacific in Business Class
  • Africa and South Africa in Business Class

However, awards for travel from October 1, 2016 on are going down in price to:

  • South Africa in economy
  • Southwest Pacific in economy
  • Middle East in economy

Delta no longer publishes an award chart, so we know about these changes by comparing the old award charts to prices published on Delta’s award calendars for travel from October 1, 2016 on. This is another blow to the value of SkyMiles, which are already the least valuable of any major mileage currency.

Let’s dive into the changes.

North Asia

China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Micronesia, Philippines, Taiwan , Russia East of the Ural Mountains, Guam, Saipan

Was: 35k/70k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 35k/80k each way in economy/Business
Change: 10,000 more Delta miles each way in Business Class to Northern Asia

Southeast Asia

Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Vietnam

Was: 45k/70k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 40k/80k each way in economy/Business
Change: 10,000 more Delta miles each way in Business Class to Southeast Asia

Southwest Pacific

American Samoa, Australia, Christmas Islands, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis, Futuna Islands

Was: 50k/80k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 45k/95k each way in economy/Business
Change: 5,000 fewer Delta miles each way in economy to Australia/New Zealand, 15,000 extra miles in Business Class

Middle East

Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen

Was: 40k/70k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 35k/70k each way in economy/Business
Change: 5,000 fewer Delta miles each way in economy to the Middle East

Africa (most of it, at least)

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Libya, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Reunion, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Was: 40k/70k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 40k/80k each way in economy/Business
Change: 10,000 more Delta miles each way in Business Class to most of Africa

South Africa

South Africa is a separate region from the rest of Africa.

Was: 50k/80k each way in economy/Business
For Travel after October 1: 40k/95k each way in economy/Business
Change: 10,000 fewer Delta miles each way in economy to South Africa, 15,000 more miles in Business

Other Regions

I have only covered award price changes for awards originating in the continental United States. There are other award chart changes. You can check out the full FlyerTalk thread that is uncovering them here.

Bottom Line

Delta miles have again gotten less valuable if you like to fly in Business Class. In economy class, a few awards have gotten cheaper. As usual, Delta gave no notice of the devaluation.

Award price changes are for travel October 1, 2016 or later. Booking date is irrelevant.1

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

15

Flying Blue is the loyalty program of Air France and a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase, American Express, Citi, and SPG. Flying Blue has a number of well-documented sweet spots including 15,000 miles one way to Hawaii from the United States mainland.

Speaking of transferring Citi points, I have to take down the Citi Prestige 50k offer in five days. Last time I had to take down a Citi 50k offer, the sign up bonus went to zero. Don’t miss out.

At the moment, however, you can book awards between the mainland and Kauai for 12,500 miles each way or 25,000 miles roundtrip. I assume this is a glitch caused by Flying Blue mis-classifying Kauai as being in the continental United States. LifeMiles used to have similar glitches putting Guam, Istanbul, and a few others in the continental United States.

It took LifeMiles months and months to correct those mistakes, so it might take Flying Blue a similar amount of time, or they might correct this mistake tomorrow. You should book as soon as you can if you want the discount.

The Mistake

Honolulu, Kona, and Maui still show the 15,000 miles price each way. That’s not bad, since Delta wants 22,500 Delta miles for the same flights, but it isn’t a mistake.

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.14.02 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.14.08 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.14.41 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.14.47 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.15.25 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.15.31 PM The mistake is that Kauai is only 12,500 miles one way.Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.15.58 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.16.01 PM The 12,500 mile price comes up on the direct Delta flight between Los Angeles and Kauai. The award has only $5.60 in taxes each way.Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.16.16 PM

Unfortunately the mistake does not extend to First Class awards. In fact, Delta First Class (search Business Class on airfrance.us) prices at 31,250 miles each way…

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.43.03 PM …while awards to the other islands are only 30,000 miles each way.Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.43.27 PM

The Award Space

For Flying Blue to have access to Delta award space at all, Delta needs to release Level 1 (Saver) award space to its members. This used to be laughably rare, especially to Hawaii, but Delta has quietly improved its award space, including to Hawaii.

For instance, here is economy award space from Atlanta to Kauai from August 1 to September 4, 2016. We see award space for 12,500 miles one way on 18/35 days.

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.17.25 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.17.30 PM This is 11 hours of flying to Hawaii for the normal price of a domestic economy award.Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.17.54 PM

You can find similar award space from many cities in America to Kauai and back for 25,000 Flying Blue miles roundtrip.

Other Great Deals to Hawaii

Never use United, Delta, or American Airlines miles to Hawaii.

Searching and Booking the Mistake

You can search for Flying Blue award space at airfrance.us once you have started an account.

Sign in to your Flying Blue account and select “Use My Miles”.  Everything on the search form is pretty intuitive. Delta First Class is “Business” on the search screen.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.09.17 AM

All transferable points transfer 1:1 to Flying Blue miles. The most time-sensitive way to get Flying Blue miles is by opening the Citi Prestige by Tuesday since its sign up details may change then.

Bottom Line

Book awards to Kauai on Delta planes with surprisingly good award space for 12,500 Flying Blue miles each way right now before the price goes up to 15,000 miles each way. (Of course, when that happens, you can still book the space for 25,000 Korean miles roundtrip.)

MileValue reader Rich has already booked this deal for four people, using 100,000 Flying Blue miles instead of $2,856 for four roundtrips to Kauai! Thanks, Rich, for the heads up.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

2

For about a month, the Delta Gold and Platinum cards have had 50,000 to 60,000 point sign up bonuses. Those offers end today (Wednesday, July 6, 2016.)

The Delta Gold personal and business cards are offering 50,000 bonus Delta miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

The Delta Platinum is offering 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 status miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

Quick Facts

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 3.53.35 PM

  • Sign Up Bonus:
    Platinum: 60k miles, 10k MQMs, and $100 statement credit after spending $2,000 in first three months
    Gold personal & business: 50k miles and $50 statement credit after spending $2,000 in the first three months
  • Category Bonuses: 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • Value of Delta Miles: Worth 1.3 cents each to me
  • Free Checked Bag for you plus up to three others on same Delta reservation
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • Annual Fee:
    Platinum: $195, not waived (so a net of -$95 after statement credit)
    Gold: $95, waived for first year (so a net of +$50 after statement credit)
  • You can only get the bonus once per lifetime on Amex cards. Example: if in the past, you have had only the Gold personal, you are ineligible to get the bonus on the Gold personal, but you can get the bonus on the Platinum personal or Gold business.

So, Gold or Platinum?

I compared them fully in this post. The upshot is that the offers are about equal if you don’t care about Delta status, and the Delta Platinum is much better if you do.

One strategy I didn’t mention that I think is really strong is applying for both the Delta Gold personal and business cards on the same day. Both offer 50,000 bonus miles after $2,000 in spending in the first three months, and both waive the annual fee for the first year.

They also each offer a $50 statement credit for making a Delta purchase in the first three months, which can be activated by buying a $50 gift card.

In total, that would be 104,000 Delta miles for spending $4,000 in the first three months and $100 in free Delta gift cards for future flights.

I value Delta Miles at 1.3 cents each, so I value 104,000 SkyMiles at $1,352. Add in the $100 in free Delta flights, and $1,452 worth of miles and flights is an amazing haul for two credit card applications.

What to Do with 104,000 SkyMiles?

I recently posted the Top Five Uses of Delta SkyMiles and separately about the great award space in Business Class to Southeast Asia on partners.

SkyMiles used to lag way behind American and United miles in value, but that just isn’t the case any more as all are in the 1.3 to 1.6 cent range for me.

SkyMiles really shine in Business Class to Asia on partners China Airlines, China Eastern, and Korean.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 5.08.17 PM

They can also be really good in economy or Business Class to Europe, South America, Africa, and Australia.

And I should mention that you don’t need to search for award space with Delta miles if you don’t want to. You can instead redeem them for 1 cent each toward purchasing any Delta ticket. I don’t recommend this because you should easily get more than 1 cent of value per mile by redeeming them for partner flights, but even this would guarantee $1,040 of value from 104,000 miles.

Bottom Line

Today (July 6) is the last day to get the Delta Gold and Platinum cards with 50,000 and 60,000 mile sign up bonuses.

The Delta Gold personal and business cards are offering 50,000 bonus Delta miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

And the Delta Platinum is offering 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 status miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

2

There is great award space to Southeast Asia next January and February (which is peak dry season in many places) in Business Class that you can book with Delta SkyMiles.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 3.04.54 PM

If you have Delta miles, book yourself an amazing Southeast Asian escape from winter today. If you don’t, get the miles today and book this space soon.

For six more days, until July 6, 2016, the Delta Gold personal and business cards are offering 50,000 bonus Delta miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

And the Delta Platinum is offering 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 status miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

Award Space

Award space is widely available for two people in Business Class from most American cities to major Southeast Asian cities in January, February, and March. For instance, Los Angeles to Phnom Penh, Cambodia has award space for two passengers in Business Class on 34/35 days at the Saver price of 80,000 miles one way.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.53.29 AM Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.53.36 AM

All the days with $120 out of pocket are operated by China Eastern.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.54.04 AM

Similarly New York to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam has award space on 33/35 days over the same period.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.55.06 AM Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.55.11 AM

Atlanta to Bangkok has award space for two in Business Class on 19/35 days.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.57.22 AM Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.57.27 AM

Search from your home town to your preferred destination right on delta.com where Delta plus Asian partners China Eastern, China Southern, China Airlines, and Korean Airlines are all searchable.Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 3.08.43 PM

Product

Much of the award space is on China Eastern. China Eastern’s new 777-300ERs serve American routes. They feature flat beds in Business Class in a 1-2-1 configuration ensuring aisle access for all Business Class passengers.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 3.11.38 PM

China Airlines, China Southern, Korean, and Delta also feature flat beds in Business Class.

Booking the Award

Search on delta.com. Book on delta.com or by calling Delta at 800-323-2323 if you want to book Business one way and economy (40k miles) one way.

Pay your award taxes and fuel surcharges with the Citi Prestige® Card. The first $250 in award taxes, fuel surcharges, airfare, or airline fees per calendar year are refunded to you as a statement credit. If you’ve already maxed out the statement credit, you will still earn 3x ThankYou Points on the award taxes.

Bottom Line

There is great Delta award space in Business Class that you can book to Southeast Asia for two people during 2017’s dry season. You can book the space for 80,000 SkyMiles per person per direction.

For six more days, until July 6, 2016, the Delta Gold personal and business cards are offering 50,000 bonus Delta miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

And the Delta Platinum is offering 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 status miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

5

Until July 6, 2016, the Delta Gold card is offering 50,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit; the Delta Platinum is offering 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 status miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit.

I compared the 50,000 mile Gold and 60,000 mile Platinum offers here, and discussed which is better for you.

Delta miles have been derided for years as less valuable than most types of miles. While that remains true, United and American Airlines have devalued their award charts to the point that some Delta awards are cheap. Delta also has a number of partners with fantastic Business Class cabins with plenty of award space. If you’re serious about miles, you should collect Delta miles, and you should easily get great value from your SkyMiles.

Here are a few very high value awards with SkyMiles:

  1. 35,000 miles each way + taxes to Middle East.  American charges 40k; United charges 42.5k.
  2. 35,000 miles each way + taxes to North Asia and China. This is the same amount American and United charge, but Delta has better award space.
  3. 80,000 miles each way + taxes in Business Class to anywhere in East Asia on China Airlines, which has amazing award space and a top notch flat bed product.
  4. 80,000 miles each way + taxes + $200 fuel surcharge in Business Class to anywhere in East Asia on China Eastern Airlines, which has amazing award space and a top notch flat bed product (though you may prefer to redeem Korean miles for China Eastern First Class to fly in a double bed.)
  5. 62,500 miles each way + taxes in Business Class to Europe on Virgin Atlantic

35k to Middle East

Other than using 25,000 (or occasionally 12,500) Flying Blue miles to Israel, this is probably the best award to the Middle East. Delta’s 35,000 miles price point is significantly cheaper than the 40,000 American Airlines miles or 42,500 United miles the same award would cost.

Most routing options will be via Europe on partners like Air France.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.09.01 PM Award space is available every day in February from New York to Dubai.Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.09.34 PM

35k to North Asia and China

From the United States to North Asia and China, Delta has the same 35,000 miles price as United and American. (Technically American charges 32,500 to 37,500 miles depending on date, partner, and destination.)

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.11.54 PM

The reason I included this award is that award space is just so wide open on Delta flights and partners Korean and China Airlines. For instance, award space is open 27/28 days in February from New York to Hong Kong.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.11.07 PM

80k State of the Art Flat Beds to Asia (No Fuel Surcharges)

China Airlines, based in Taiwan, has a top notch flat bed product that they updated in 2014. The four 6’6″ beds per row all have direct aisle access.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 5.08.17 PM

China Airlines releases masses of award space in Business Class, Delta doesn’t collect fuel surcharges on China Airlines flights, and the 80,000 mile price is the same whether you go to Taiwan or anywhere else in East or Southeast Asia.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.13.16 PM

Right now there is award space in Business Class–usually 2 to 3 seats per flight–from Los Angeles to Taipei every day from February 5 to March 4.
Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.12.53 PM

Another 80k Option to Asia (but with Fuel Surcharges)

China Eastern also releases a ton of state-of-the-art flat bed award space to Asia in Business Class that you can book with 80,000 Delta miles. Unfortunately you’ll also pay about $200 in fuel surcharges per direction.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.17.13 PM

There is award space every day in February and March from New York to Shanghai in China Eastern Business Class.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.17.41 PM

Unfortunately Delta miles cannot book partner First Class, and China Eastern First Class features two middle seats that combine into one double bed. You can book the double bed with Korean miles, a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards and SPG Starpoints.

 

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 10.24.09 PM62.5k Flat Bed to Europe, Good Award Space

Delta doesn’t collect fuel surcharges on Virgin Atlantic flights when you book one way or roundtrip awards originating in the United States. (Booking just a one way award home from Europe will incur fuel surcharges.)

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.16.25 PM

Award space is good in Business Class from San Francisco to London this February with most days pricing at 62,500 miles one way and the rest at 80,000.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.15.20 PMMost of that award space is on Virgin Atlantic direct flights with flat beds. I’ve isolated the direct Virgin Atlantic Upper Class award space here:
Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.16.14 PM
Unfortunately if you just book the one way to Europe to avoid expensive taxes out of London, you’ll miss the amazing Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse there. If you want to see that on a one way award, you’d pay an obscene $506 in taxes and fuel surcharges on top of your miles.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 7.41.00 PM

Bottom Line

Until July 6, 2016, the Delta Gold card is offering 50,000 bonus Delta miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

Until July 6, 2016, the Delta Platinum is offering 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 status miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in your first three months.

These huge bonuses can be used for very high value awards in economy or Business Class to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

2

China Eastern flies its 777-300ER with flat beds in Business Class and a flat double bed in First Class for two people to share between several American cities and Shanghai with connections throughout Asia.

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 10.24.09 PM
You can book Business Class for 77,500 Korean miles or 80,000 Delta miles, and you can book First Class for 100,000 Korean miles. If you book two First Class award seats, you can combine your beds into one large double bed. All these awards include fuel surcharges of about $200 per person per direction.

Award space is wide open in China Eastern Business and First Class.

China Eastern Product

China Eastern has its 777-300ER on routes from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York to its hub in Shanghai.
Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 10.28.34 PM
This video gives an overview of the cabins.

There are 52 Business Class beds in a 1-2-1 configuration, meaning all passengers have direct aisle access. There are six First Class beds, four along the windows in two rows and a pair between the aisles. It is this pair of First Class beds that can have its partition removed to convert into a fully flat double bed. The only other flying double bed is in Singapore Suites Class on the carrier’s A380s.

While the seats and beds on China Eastern’s 777-300ER are some of the best in the world, I don’t think you’ll find the service up to that level according to trip reports online including this one in Business Class from New York to Shanghai.

Search for Award Space

You can search for Business Class award space on delta.com.
Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 10.22.07 PM
There is award space in Business Class on China Eastern flights between New York and Shanghai every day in April 2017.
Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 10.22.14 PM
By clicking on the flight number on any day’s results, you can see that the operating aircraft is a 777-300.
Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 10.39.02 PM
The only place I know to search China Eastern First Class award space is Expert Flyer, which is a paid service, though you can get a free five day trial.
Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 9.48.42 PM
Award space is excellent on all the routes. I see a lot of flights to/from New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco with two First Class award seats. I see flights to/from Chicago with four.
Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 9.55.01 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-09 at 9.55.15 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-09 at 9.56.00 PM

Book Award Space

You can book Business Class award space with Delta SkyMiles, but not First Class space. Delta doesn’t offer three-cabin First Class, and it doesn’t allow you to book partner First Class with its miles either.

Delta charges 80,000 SkyMiles plus taxes each way and fuel surcharges (about $200 one way from the United States to Asia.)
Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 9.57.36 PMThat miles price is the same wherever you start in the United States and wherever you end in East Asia or Southeast Asia as long as you find Saver award space for all flights.

Book with Delta miles on delta.com.

You can book China Eastern Business and First Class with Korean SkyPass miles. Korean charges 77,500 miles one way in Business Class and 100,000 one way in First Class to Asia 2.

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 10.18.37 PMAsia 2 is most of the places you’d want to fly on China Eastern.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 10.18.53 PM
Unfortunately booking Korean awards is a pain. Basically:

  1. You call (800) 438-5000 to put the award on hold. Tell the agent that you want to book a Bonus Award and feed her the date, cabin, and flight numbers of the China Eastern segments you found on delta.com or Expert Flyer.
  2. Complete the Bonus Award Application. You can only book awards for yourself, parents, grandparents, siblings, children, grandchildren, parents-in-law, and children-in-law. You have to provide proof of the relationship too, which might mean scanning and emailing a marriage certificate or birth certificate. Insane, I know, but you can literally fly across an ocean in a double bed for your trouble.
  3. Call back to ticket the award.

Getting the Miles

There are current huge bonuses on Delta cards:

The Gold personal and Gold business cards are offering 50,000 bonus miles for spending $2,000 in the first three months. The Platinum personal card is offering 60,000 bonus miles with the same spending requirement. Which is better for you?

You can also transfer American Express Membership Rewards to Delta miles at a 1:1 rate and SPG Starpoints at a 20:000 points to 25,000 miles rate.

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards 1:1 to Korean miles and SPG Starpoints at a 20:000 points to 25,000 miles rate.

There are huge offers (55,000 to 60,000 bonus points) on the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus.

While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

Bottom Line

For a reasonable miles price and modest fuel surcharge, you can fly world class flat beds between the United States and Asia.

Use Delta or Korean miles to book the wide open award space in China Eastern Business Class and Korean miles to book the wide open double bed First Class space.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

I get questions all the time like this:

Hi, I have a million American Express Membership Rewards/Chase Ultimate Rewards/Citi ThankYou Points, what is the best transfer partner to go from [here] to [there.]

There are basically two ways to answer the question:

  1. Look at award charts of all the points’ transfer partners and then look for award space using the cheapest miles. I used this method to suggest to my friend that he transfer his Membership Rewards to Flying Blue miles to get from Denver to Tel Aviv. I covered this method extensively in Best Way to Get to Israel with Miles, which is a much broader post than the title suggests.
  2. Look for award space on all airlines that fly from [here] to [there], then figure out the cheapest way to fly the itinerary you most like. I’ll cover this second method in this post.

My friend messaged me last week saying that she had access to a few hundred thousand American Express Membership Rewards and wanted to fly from Buenos Aires to New York on June 3 or June 6.

Since she had such specific dates and not that many airlines fly from Buenos Aires to New York, I thought the best strategy was to search award space, then figure out which transfer partner to use to book what I found.

The airlines to search were:

  • American
  • United
  • Delta
  • AeroMexico
  • Copa
  • Avianca
  • LATAM
  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • Air Canada

The cool thing is that all these airlines can be searched on three sites:

  1. United.com shows United, Copa, Air Canada, and Avianca award space
  2. Delta.com shows Delta, AeroMexico, and Aerolineas Argentinas award space
  3. BA.com shows American Airlines and LATAM award space

If you search those three sites (without signing into united.com) and find Saver award space on any of the airlines, it should be bookable with any type of miles that can book that airlines’ award space. That’s just another way of saying that airlines usually release all their Saver award space equally to all partners.

So I went to search (except I cheated and subbed aa.com for ba.com because I didn’t expect to find good LATAM award space, so going to ba.com would just be slower.)

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 7.45.13 PM
aa.com search
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 7.45.32 PM
delta.com search
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 7.45.50 PM
united.com search

Search Results

AA.com

On aa.com, I hit the jackpot–direct Business Class award space in a flat bed from Buenos Aires to New York on American Airlines at the Saver level.

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 7.48.49 PM

American charges 57,500 miles one way for that space, but that is irrelevant because American Airlines is not a partner of Amex. We’d have to transfer to a partner of American’s to book the space, and different programs charge different prices for the same awards.

Amex has four partners that could book the flight:

  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • British Airways Avios
  • Iberia Avios
  • Etihad Guest Miles (added April 2016)

The oneworld partners are distance-based programs, and unfortunately this is quite a long flight at over 5,200 miles flown. British Airways and Iberia charge an insane 150,000 Avios one way for the flight in Business Class. Cathay Pacific Asia miles charges 70,000 miles one way.

Etihad is a region-based program that is not a member of any alliance but has American Airlines as a partner. Amazingly Etihad uses American Airlines’ pre-devAAluation award chart for American Airlines flights, so this flight would be only 50,000 Etihad miles.

Unfortunately, my friend was looking to fly within the week, and Etihad Guest’s terms say:

9.3.5. Redemption travel on Partner airline flights must be booked no less than 14 working days prior to the date of travel via the Etihad Guest Service Centre only.

Delta.com

The results on delta.com were not very good. She could book an economy award on Delta for 47,500 Delta miles or Business Class for 147,500 miles. (These would not be bookable with Delta partners’ miles because this is not Saver award space.)

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 7.47.16 PMDelta.com pulled up no Aerolineas Argentinas or AeroMexico award space.

United.com

United pulled up Saver Business Class award space on Copa on June 3 with one stop in Panama.
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 7.47.23 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 8.01.46 PM

It also found Saver economy award space on United on June 6, and Saver economy and Business space on Air Canada/United for June 6.Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 7.48.04 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 7.59.53 PM

This Star Alliance award space is bookable with the following Membership Rewards partners:

  • ANA Mileage Club
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Singapore KrisFlyer

ANA requires roundtrip tickets, and she was only booking one way. For one way awards, Singapore charges 50,000 miles in Business Class from Argentina to the USA; Aeroplan charges 55,000.

The clear best option in her opinion was to book Business Class on Copa on June 3 with 50,000 Singapore miles. (By the way, here’s a Copa Business Class trip report from when I flew the airline in January to Chile.)

What She Needs to Do

The Amex points she’ll use are not in her account. That adds an extra step, the redemption nominee form step.

  1. Open a Singapore KrisFlyer account in name of the person who has the Amex points. This is important because the owner of the Amex points cannot transfer them to an airline account in my friend’s name.
  2. Fill out a “redemption nominee form” in that KrisFyler account with my friend’s information. This is important because while all American airline programs allow an account owner to redeem awards for anyone, Singapore only allows you to redeem for people who you have listed as nominees first. This process is really simple and I detailed my experience with it here.
  3. Transfer 50,000 points from her friend’s Amex account to her friend’s new Singapore account.
  4. Wait. It will take 12-36 hours for points to arrive as Singapore miles. In this time, the award space could disappear. (It probably won’t, but it could.) In that case, my friend would be stuck with one of the other options from united.com.
  5. When the miles arrive, call Singapore Airlines at 800-742-3333 and tell the agent the dates, cabins, and flight numbers of those Copa flights. Here’s my experience booking awards with Singapore miles. She should do this immediately when the miles post because you must book Singapore partner awards at least three days before departure.

Bottom Line

There is usually no way to answer the best transfer partner from [here] to [there] without researching. The two main research ways are to check charts first and then find award space or check award space first and then figure out the best way to book it.

In general, I’d use the charts first method from my other friend’s Israel trip if you have more date flexibility and if more airlines fly the route. I’d use this award space first method if you have less date flexibility and there are are fewer award search engines you’d need to search.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

Hawaii is one of the best places in the world to visit, and judging by the number of inquiries I get about booking awards to Hawaii, it’s clear that many people agree. There are a number of cheap ways to get there that I’ll list in order.

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 10.15.24 PM
Waikiki at Sunset

1. Allegiant Air $314+ roundtrip (ending 8/2016)

Allegiant Air is an ultra-low cost carrier that flies from Las Vegas and Los Angeles to Honolulu. The flights are as cheap as $314 roundtrip, but a carry on will cost $50 roundtrip and a checked bag is $70 roundtrip. Additionally if you want to select your seat or board early, you have to pay extra.

If you live in LA or Vegas, don’t mind a middle seat for six hours, and can travel with only one carry on, $364 roundtrip to Hawaii including a carry on is the best deal in my opinion–better than burning 25,000+ miles on the trip.

You can always pay for your Allegiant flights, bag fees, seat fees, and food with the $250 Air Travel Credit on your Citi Prestige® Card, which comes with 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

Check out my review of the Citi Prestige Card which explains its many benefits like $250 in airfare or airline fee credits per calendar year, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee.

With $250 off the price of an Allegiant ticket, you could get one to Hawaii for about $100 roundtrip.

Here’s my review of paying $90 extra to get a “Giant Seat” up front from Los Angeles to Honolulu when I flew Allegiant.

Allegiant has announced that it will terminate Hawaii service in August 2016.

2. Avios Award: 25,000+ Avios and $11+ roundtrip

I love that British Airways Avios has a distance-based award chart. For 25,000 Avios and $11, you can fly roundtrip on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines planes from the West Coast to Hawaii. Here are the possible routes.

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 6.21.15 PM
1: Seasonal

Avios can be used for one way awards at half the price of a roundtrip award, which means that if you can’t get the Avios deal both ways, it’s still a good idea to go one way for 12,500 Avios and use another one way deal.

See here for an Anatomy of an Award post for a step-by-step breakdown of the time I booked a one way award from Honolulu to Los Angeles with Avios.

Getting British Airways Avios

You can get Chase’s British Airways card, transfer Ultimate Rewards 1:1, transfer Starpoints 4:5, or transfer Membership Rewards 5:4.

  • The British Airways Visa Signature card comes with 50,000 bonus Avios after spending $2,000 in the first three months on the card.Spend $15,000 in the first 12 months for another 25,000 bonus Avios. The maximum bonus is 75,000 total Avios for spending $15,000 in the first 12 months of which $2,000 came in the first three.

    While I can not directly link to the current British Airways Visa offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

3. Korean Miles Award: 25,000+ Korean Miles and $11 Roundtrip, First Class from 45,000 Korean Miles Roundtrip

Korean miles can book a roundtrip in Delta economy from anywhere in the United States to any of the four major Hawaiian islands for 25,000 Korean miles. A roundtrip in Delta First Class is 45,000 Korean miles.

You just have to find Saver award space on Delta flights on delta.com and transfer your Ultimate Rewards or SPG Starpoints to Korean miles.

More info on the process: Guide to Booking Delta Flights to Hawaii for 25k Korean Miles Roundtrip, 45k in First

Korean miles can also book Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines Saver award space, but the price is higher: 30k/60k Korean miles roundtrip in economy/First.

Getting Korean Miles

Korean miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards and 4:5 transfer partner of Starpoints.

  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a personal card that earns 50k Ultimate Rewards after spending $4k in 3 months.You also get 5k bonus points for adding an authorized user while applying, so I think of this as a 55k bonus point card. (Adding an authorized user does not prevent that person from getting the card at the same time or in the future as a primary account holder and getting the full sign up bonus.)

    The Sapphire Preferred earns 2x points on dining and travel. Dining includes bars, restaurants, and fast food. Travel includes airfare, hotels, taxis, rental cars, tolls, parking, and much more.

    The Sapphire Preferred has no annual fee the first year, then $95 thereafter.

    While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

4. Singapore Miles Award: 35,000+ Singapore Miles and $11 Roundtrip, First Class from 60,000 Singapore Miles Roundtrip

Singapore miles can book United economy from anywhere in the United States to any of the four major Hawaiian islands for 17,500 Singapore miles each way. One way in United First Class is 30,000 Singapore miles.

You just have to find Saver award space on United flights on united.com and transfer your Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, or SPG Starpoints to Singapore miles.

More info on the process: Guide to Booking United Flights to Hawaii with Singapore Miles

While it’s ideal to use one of the three previous options to book an award to Hawaii, you might not live in a place that can take advantage of Allegiant flights or Avios awards, and Delta is notoriously poor for releasing award space (which means Korean miles are useless.) The best bet on this list is definitely United opening up award space, which you can then book with Singapore miles.

Getting Singapore Miles

Singapore miles are a partner of every transferable points program. Cards I like that earns points that transfer:

What Wasn’t On the List

  • United miles
  • Delta miles
  • American Airlines miles

Flights on those airlines can be booked cheaper with Singapore, Korean, and British Airways miles respectively.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

Which airlines has the best miles and frequent flyer program? United, American, and Delta are the big three legacy carriers that most directly compete with each other in the United States. For that reason, I publish charts that compare their award prices.

I have updated my charts to show the prices that United, Delta, and American Airlines will charge for awards flown October 1, 2016 and November 1, 2016 or later. For travel through September 30, 2016, Delta’s different award prices can be found here.

Economy

All charts compare the cheapest possible award you can book with the airlines, called Saver, MileSAAver, or Level 1. All charts show the price in thousands of miles.

The economy chart has an extra column because American Airlines has off peak dates for economy awards that are cheaper than their normal MileSAAver awards. The asterisk next to the Europe off peak award is because, it is the only off peak award bookable on American Airlines partners. All other off peak awards must fly American Airlines planes only.

The slashes in the American column show the price for flying on American (cheaper) and partners (more expensive.)

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 7.06.12 PM

American’s devAAluation has put its economy award prices roughly in line with Delta’s and United’s.

Delta’s October Devaluation for Business Class came with some economy reductions. Delta now has some of the cheapest economy awards.

The biggest steals I see are American Airlines off peak awards to Central America and Hong Kong.

Business Class

The slashes in the United and American columns show the prices for flying that airline (cheaper) and partners (more expensive) except the slashes in the American cells for flights within the United States and Canada show the price for flying First Class on a two cabin plane (cheaper) and Business Class on a three cabin plane (more expensive.) The slashes in the Delta column show the price for flying First Class (cheaper) and flat bed Business Class (more expensive.)

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 6.47.30 PM

Again American’s changes put it right in line with its competitors briefly until Delta’s changes made American Airlines awards look cheap by comparison again. American miles are still cheaper to Northern South America, Japan, and Korea.

First

Delta doesn’t have a column because Delta miles cannot be used to book three-cabin First Class. To book SkyTeam First Class, transfer Ultimate Rewards or Starpoints to Korean miles. Slashes show the price of flying that airline (cheaper) and the price of flying a partner (more expensive.)
Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 2.16.13 PM

It is almost always cheaper to use American Airlines miles to fly one of its awesome partners’ First Classes than it is to use United miles to fly one of its partners’ First Classes, but both charts are terrible. The only possible value I see is paying 80,000 American Airlines miles to fly JAL’s very awesome First Class to Japan or Korea.

For First Class awards in 2016, look to use Alaska miles, Korean miles, or Singapore miles instead.

Bottom Line

Of course we all thought that American Airlines would devalue its charts roughly in line with United’s and Delta’s, but I didn’t realize how closely American had copied its competitors until putting this post together and seeing that the airlines have nearly the same prices on all awards originating in the continental United States.

Delta’s changes for travel October 1 or later are welcome for economy travel but terrible for Business Class travel.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

It is cheaper to book the exact same Delta flights to Hawaii with Korean miles than with Delta miles.

  • Delta charges 22,500 miles each way in economy and 40,000 miles in First Class between the mainland and Hawaii or 50,000 in flat bed Delta One
  • Korean charges 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy and 45,000 miles roundtrip in First Class or Delta One between the mainland and Hawaii

That’s a humongous difference. Instead of costing 90,000 Delta miles to get two people from your home airport to Hawaii and back, you could pay 50,000 Korean miles. Instead of paying 160,000 Delta miles for two roundtrip First Class tickets, you could pay 90,000 Korean miles–even theoretically for flat beds!

To reiterate, these are the exact same flights with vastly different prices depending on which miles you use.

Korean has access to all the same Level 1 award space Delta releases to people with Delta miles, but no other Delta award space.

What’s the catch? For bookings to Hawaii, there are two:

  1. You can only book Korean awards for yourself or immediate family members, with proof of relationships.
  2. Korean awards are the same price roundtrip or one way, so you have to book roundtrip (although an open jaw is allowed.) Delta awards can be booked one way (and then you can return home with another type of miles.)

However there are a number of benefits to booking Korean awards to Hawaii:

  1. Korean awards cost fewer miles than Delta awards
  2. Korean awards have no change or cancellation fees if your plans change
  3. Korean awards of Delta flights to Hawaii do not have fuel surcharges, so both types of awards will just have identical taxes of $11 roundtrip.
  4. Korean offers a stopover on roundtrip awards to Hawaii. Delta doesn’t.
  5. Korean miles are easy to get

Getting Korean Miles

Korean miles are a partner of two of the four major transferable points program:

  1. Chase Ultimate Rewards, 1:1
  2. SPG Starpoints, 1:1 with a bonus. Every 20,000 Starpoints transferred earns a 5,000 mile bonus, so the ideal transfers are in exact increments of 20,000 Starpoints to 25,000 Korean miles.

Right now, the two best cards to get Korean miles are the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus because both earn Ultimate Rewards that transfer 1:1 to Korean miles.

The Sapphire Preferred is one of the best personal credit cards on the market. It offers:

  • 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months
  • 5,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards for adding an authorized user
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • no annual fee the first year and $95 thereafter

While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

The Ink Plus is easily the best business card on the market. It offers:

  • 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at gas stations and hotel accommodations
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

Starpoints also transfer to Korean miles, and both SPG cards are in the middle of their biggest bonuses ever.

Searching for Award Space, Transferring Miles, and Booking the Awards

You will have to search for award space on the Delta flights on delta.com; then you will call Korean Airlines and possibly email them some documents to ticket the award.

Searching Delta.com

On the home page of delta.com run an award search from your home airport to Oahu (HNL), Maui (OGG), Kauai (LIH), or the Big Island (KOA). I prefer one way searches because I think they display the results more clearly.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.14.11 PM

At the top of the search results, select “Delta Only” to avoid Alaska Airlines flights showing up in the results (they can booked with Korean miles, but at a higher price) and change the calendar to “5 Weeks” if you are extra flexible.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 5.55.00 PM

Here are the results for this fall from Los Angeles to Maui for two passengers. Days that say 22,500 have Level 1 award space that we can book with Korean miles. Other days do not.
Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.15.39 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.15.45 PM

Similarly, here is Kauai to Los Angeles for two passengers. Again, I see surprisingly good economy award space this fall.Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.16.04 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.16.09 PM First Class award space is not nearly as good. Level 1 space is 40,000 miles each way per person, so that’s what you need to find.Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.16.59 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.17.03 PM Once you find the award space you want that prices at the Level 1 price, note the date, cabin, and flight number. For instance, here is an economy trip with Level 1 award space from Minneapolis to Maui, returning from Kauai to Minneapolis.Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.20.15 PM

Flat Beds

Delta flies flat beds from Atlanta to Honolulu, but award space is terrible on the route. These flights would still be 45,000 Korean miles roundtrip even though they are 50,000 Delta miles one way at the Level 1 price. Let us know in the comments if you find any award space on these routes.

Booking Process

I have never booked an award with Korean miles. I am relying on this post from One Mile at a Time. Basically:

  1. You call (800) 438-5000 to put the award on hold. Tell the agent that you want to book a Bonus Award and feed her the date, cabin, and flight numbers of the Delta segments you found on delta.com. For cabin, call the forward cabin on Delta’s planes “Business Class” even though Delta calls it something else.
  2. Complete the Bonus Award Application. You can only book awards for yourself, parents, grandparents, siblings, children, grandchildren, parents-in-law, and children-in-law. You have to provide proof of the relationship too, which might mean scanning and emailing a marriage certificate or birth certificate. Insane, I know, but you can literally save about $1,000 worth of miles for two people taking a roundtrip to Hawaii.
  3. Call back to ticket the award.
Transferring Miles

Transfers from Ultimate Rewards to Korean are instant, so put the award on hold before transferring.

SPG transfers take approximately five days. Also initiate these after putting the award on hold because Korean award holds are of essentially limitless duration.

Picking Seats

To pick your seats and confirm that your reservation was ticketed correctly, call Delta.

Get Creative (Routing Rules)

Here are the routing rules when redeeming Korean miles to fly SkyTeam partners, like Delta:

  • Roundtrip and one way awards are the same price, so book roundtrip awards
  • You get one stopover per roundtrip award in addition to the destination
  • You can have three segments maximum in each direction
  • You get one open jaw, at the destination only

You can get a stopover on the mainland an open jaw in Hawaii, so you can book something like:

  • Your home airport to Los Angeles
  • Hang out in LA for a few days (or weeks or months)
  • Los Angeles to one Hawaiian island
  • Another Hawaiian island to your home airport

That leaves just a single interisland flight to be booked separately (or several interisland flights depending on how many islands you want to see.

Bottom Line

Use Korean miles instead of Delta miles to book economy and First Class awards to Hawaii on Delta flights. You’ll pay fewer miles, lower fees, and be able to book the exact same seats. Plus Korean awards allow a stopover en route an open jaw at the destination.

Cards that earn Ultimate Rewards are ideal, since they transfer 1:1 instantly to Korean miles.

The Sapphire Preferred is one of the best personal credit cards on the market. It offers:

  • 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months
  • 5,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards for adding an authorized user
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • no annual fee the first year and $95 thereafter

While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

The Ink Plus is easily the best business card on the market. It offers:

  • 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at gas stations and hotel accommodations
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

5

Delta domestic economy and Delta Comfort+ award tickets are on sale for as little as 5,500 miles one way.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 12.45.38 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 12.45.55 PM

I searched for Columbus to Los Angeles and found the sale price widely available in economy and Comfort+; interestingly the sale price was available on nonstop and connecting routes.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 12.55.45 PM

(Also interestingly, on connecting routes that are partly on planes without Comfort+, that is made clear on the results page.)Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 12.55.54 PM

On the Columbus to Los Angeles route this represents a 1,500 discount in economy over the price before Delta deleted its award charts. Comfort+ is new since the deleted award charts, so I don’t know how much of a discount this is.

By the way, Comfort+ is economy with a little extra legroom and a few more perks.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 12.47.25 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 12.47.47 PM

 

Is This Delta Sale a Good Deal?

I value Delta miles at 1.3 cents each, far below its competitors because Delta award space isn’t great, its partners aren’t as useful as most programs’, and it collects fuel surcharges on many awards.

At such a low valuation, domestic economy awards can be a good use of miles, but before booking, look up the price of the cash flight. Remember that 11,000 mile award from Columbus to LAX? That same cash flight is $123.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 2.02.55 PM

That means you’d only get about 1.1 cents of value for your 11,000 SkyMiles if you booked the award. No thanks. I’d book this as a cash ticket. (Or better yet with the $250 Air Travel Credit on my Citi Prestige.)

Bottom Line

Delta is offering discounted economy and Comfort+ awards on 8,000+ domestic routes. Book by June 7 and fly late summer and early fall.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

Not sure where your miles can take you? Not sure if you have enough miles to contact the MileValue Award Booking Service?

In order to determine if you have enough miles to take that trip you’re planning, look at the award chart for the loyalty program in which you have miles. Don’t worry what partner you want to fly. Look at the chart that corresponds to the airline with which you have a miles balance.

Here are the award charts for the three major US carriers:

All three of the legacy carriers have region-to-region miles. Their award charts group travel destinations into regions, and set a fixed number of miles needed to travel from one region to another.

That means it doesn’t matter whether you are going Los Angeles to Paris or New York to London–both trips are North America to Europe and cost the same number of miles.

You will have to determine what region your departure and arrival cities are located in by using the chart’s region legend. Then you’ll read the miles price off the chart, which varies based on three factors:

  • Cabin: Is your award in First Class, Business Class, or economy?
  • MileSAAver/Saver/Level 1 or Level 2-5/Standard/AAnytime: Only a small fraction of all seats can be had for the headline price on the chart. These seats are called low or saver award seats by the airline, and are what we strive to book. Other seats are usually available at double the price of these seats and go by names like standard space or AAnytime space.
  • Peak or off peak: American Airlines, Alaska, Etihad, ANA, British Airways, and a few other programs offer discounts for flying certain routes at less popular times of the year.

American Airlines

For the purpose of pricing awards, American Airlines awards are all one way awards. If you’re booking a roundtrip, think of it is as two one ways.

If your award is a single, direct flight, you can just read the price of the flight off one of American Airlines’ two award charts:

American splits the world into 15 regions. Start off by finding out what region your departure and arrival cities are in by scrolling to the bottom of the partner award chart page and clicking on Region Definitions, which triggers a drop-down menu with the countries in that region. Here are the first two regions displayed in the drop-down menu, for example:

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 12.07.36 PM

Differences Between Chart for Flying American and Chart for Flying Partners

The two charts are nearly identical. There are only three differences:

  1. The chart for an award with all American Airlines flights has four potential miles prices for each cabin because there are several levels of AAnytime awards, the expensive awards we never want to book. We only want to book MileSAAver awards, the cheap awards that are more highly capacity-controlled.
Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 11.15.29 AM
Award prices for travel originating in the Contiguous 48 U.S. states flying American Airlines

The chart for partners only has one price for each cabin because all partner awards price at the MileSAAver level.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 11.57.42 AM
Award prices for travel originating in the Contiguous 48 U.S. states flying partner airlines
  1. The chart for an award with all American Airlines flights has economy Off Peak dates to several regions, while the partner chart only has economy Off Peak dates to Europe. To see economy Off Peak dates look at the American Airlines award chart, and click Details on Award Travel at the top. These are the current economy Off Peak dates:

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 12.10.27 PM

  1. The partner award chart covers all regions of the world while the AA-only chart has all awards starting or ending in North America. That makes sense since all American Airlines flights start or end in North America.

If you’ve found a direct flight, go read the price off the appropriate award chart. Otherwise, how does the award price? That’s where American Airlines’ award routing rules come into play. Read about them in Redeem American Airlines Miles: Part 4– Award Rules and How Many Miles You Need.  

Let’s look at a specific example pricing a direct flight. 

If I wanted to fly from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires, Argentina in LAN Business class, I would first determine which region those two cities are in–North America and South America Region 2 in this case. I would then find the region where my award begins on the partner chart (since LAN is a partner), click the drop-down menu for Contiguous 48 U.S. states and then look for how much the MileSAAver Business Class price is to South America Region 2. As you can see, this award would cost me 57,500 miles each way.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 12.48.30 PM

American Airlines also flies this route, so if we looked it up on the American Airlines award chart, you’ll see the price listed there as well. It is the same, 57,500 miles each way.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 12.46.38 PM

United Airlines

United publishes an interactive award chart that lets you visually select your origin and destination.

Below you can see that I selected an award originating in the Mainland US, Alaska & Canada region of the North America zone with a destination in the Southern South America region of the Latin America and Caribbean zone. You can check United’s region definitions by clicking the hyperlink in the corner of the Select An Award box (View list of countries and regions):

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 1.09.36 PM

Once you have made your selections, a box will pop up below the map detailing how many miles your award will cost you. As you can see, United lists both the oneway and roundtrip prices for Saver and Standard–their names for low- and high-miles-price–award space in economy, Business, and First class. United allows you to book a oneway for half the price of a roundtrip.

An economy roundtrip Saver Award from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires prices out to 60,000 miles.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 1.12.52 PM

United’s interactive chart is my favorite chart to use because it is so easy and straightforward. However, it’s tough to compare prices between zones. Sometimes it’s nice to see how much more or less one trip is compared to another.

If you like to compare this way, United also provides a PDF of its award chart in the more traditional spreadsheet layout. You read it by picking your origin on the left column, your destination on the top row, and then finding where those meet on the chart. The boxes are divided into Saver and Standard prices.

The PDF also includes the Star Alliance award chart, which makes no distinction between Saver and Standard awards because all partner space is low-miles-price space.

Delta

Note that while it’s the last we have of what was published by Delta, this collection of Delta award chart screenshots is over a year old and Delta has suffered various devaluations since then. Some recent devaluations include:

The only way to truly know if you have enough miles for a Delta award is to look it up via an award search on either delta.com, or call a Delta agent and ask for the award price.

These are the partners whose award space you can search on delta.com:

  • Delta
  • Delta Connection
  • Aeroflot
  • Aerolineas Argentina
  • Aeromexico
  • Air France
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Alitalia
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • China Southern
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • GOL
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Saudia
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Australia

These are the partners it does not show. To price out awards flying these partners, you’ll have to call Delta (1-800-323-2323):

  • Air Europa
  • Czech
  • Kenya
  • Tarom
  • Xiamen Airlines 
  • Air Tahiti Nui 

Bottom Line

To figure out how many miles you need for a trip, you need to know your way around an award chart. Hopefully with this rundown of United, American, and Delta’s charts, you are ready to read any airline’s award chart.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

It seems that experflyer.com is not accurately displaying Air Tahiti Nui award space that Delta agents can book. Multiple Delta representatives confirmed with me over the phone that four seats in Business Class are available on seven different Air Tahiti Nui flights, all of which show zero award seats in Business Class available on expertflyer.com.

What Air Tahiti Nui Is and Why it Matters

Air Tahiti Nui, headquartered in Papeete, Tahiti, is one of seven airlines that flies into Fa’a’ā International Airport in Tahiti. Only two of those airlines have flights to the mainland United States–Air France and Air Tahiti Nui–and they only fly to Los Angeles.

Tahiti is the gateway to French Polynesia, as it’s the only place you can fly to with miles in the whole string of South Pacific islands. Want to go to Mo’orea or Bora Bora with miles? You’ll have to go to Tahiti first and then pay for a flight (or redeem Arrival miles) onward.

8123613343_9170c525ea_z

Air Tahiti Nui not a member of any of the three major alliances, but it is a non-alliance partner of Delta and American Airlines.

What Expertflyer.com Is and Why it Matters

The only way to search for Air Tahiti Nui award space online is via expertflyer.com, which is a paid service–$100 per year, $10 per month, or free for a five day trial. It can be used for a variety of purposes, one of which is to search for some airlines award space that doesn’t show up elsewhere on the internet. Read more about how I use it in Free First Class Next Month: Using expertflyer.com.  

From patterns I’ve seen (and see now) on expertflyer.com flying Air Tahiti Nui from the US to Tahiti, if you can book 11 months out from your desired travel dates than you’ll have a good amount of options, with a maximum of two seats in Business Class and seven seats in Economy. Wait any longer and space deteriorates as the departure date approaches. 

Wait…Expertflyer.com and Air Tahiti Nui’s Actual Award Space Don’t Match?

A client of the MileValue Award Booking Service recently told me that she had found two seats in Business Class from Los Angeles to Tahiti in October bookable with her Delta miles. I searched the dates on expertflyer.com expecting to find the two seats in Business Class, but was surprised when nothing turned up. So I called Delta (800-3232323) to see if an agent could find the award space that expertflyer.com wasn’t displaying, and they indeed found the two seats in Business Class I was looking for.

I searched for award space on a number of flights from Los Angeles to Tahiti (and Tahiti to Los Angeles) on expertflyer.com to test if this was a recurring theme, planning to call Delta to cross reference.

What Expertflyer.com Says

Dates that I searched range from May 2016 to March 2017:

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 6.57.00 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.39.53 PM

Much like what I’ve seen in the past, there’s a good selection 11 months out and then nothing, except a smattering of Economy seats…

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.40.39 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.40.54 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.41.11 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.41.33 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.42.30 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.42.47 PM

What Delta Says

When I called Delta, three separate representatives all told me the same thing. Each of those flights from the screenshots above have four seats available in Business Class that I could book with Delta miles. Expertflyer.com shows zero seats available in Business class except for the first roundtrip example, which shows only two Business Class award seats. I was also told there are some extra Economy seats on some of the flights that expertflyer.com shows having none.

Cool! So How Can I Book a Delta award to Tahiti?

I did not actually end up booking any of this award space, so I can’t 100% confirm it is possible.

Either way, the message is clear. If you’re trying to book a flight with Delta miles to Tahiti, don’t write off the possibility just because expertflyer.com doesn’t show space. Take the following steps instead:

  1. Sign up for a paid membership or free five day trial at expertflyer.com
  2. Search for the days you would like to travel to Tahiti
  3. Note the flight numbers expertflyer.com shows, even if the dates you want to travel show zero seats available in your preferred cabin
  4. Call Delta at 800-3232323, and feed the agent your desired dates, cabin and flight numbers

I only needed to feed the Delta agents the flight numbers and dates I looked up on expertflyer.com– no other special directions were necessary. They all found the space easily. Hopefully the representatives you talk to can as well.

Cost of Delta Awards to Tahiti

Unfortunately you have to pay fuel surcharges when redeeming Delta miles on Air Tahiti Nui flights.

  • One roundtrip in Economy from Los Angeles to Papeete, Tahiti: 90,000 Delta miles + $422.36
  • One roundtrip in Business Class from Los Angeles to Papeete, Tahiti: 190,000 Delta miles + $532.36
  • Delta miles cannot be used to book partners’ First Class

Awards from other parts of the United States will cost the same number of miles if you find Delta or Alaska Airlines Saver award space to/from Los Angeles.

An Economy ticket purchased with cash has taxes, fees and fuel surcharges that break down to look like this (taken from ITA matrix):

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.48.59 PM

A Business Class ticket purchased with cash has taxes, fees and fuel surcharges that break down to look like this (also taken from ITA matrix):

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.59.56 PM

The sums of those fees (including the YQ amount, aka fuel surcharges) are both very similar to what a Delta representative quoted for me, so from that we can conclude that fuel surcharges are included when redeeming Delta miles on Air Tahiti Nui flights.

Can I Redeem American Airlines Miles Instead then?

American Airlines does not collect fuel surcharges on awards flying partner Air Tahiti Nui. It is a truism of miles that airlines release Saver award space equally to all partners, so theoretically it could also be the case that there is award space bookable with American Airlines miles that is not showing up on expertflyer.com.

Unfortunately in this case the truism is not true. I called American Airlines (800-882-8880) and asked a representative about all of the dates from the screenshots above– that according to Delta had four seats in Business Class available– and they couldn’t find any of the same space. In fact, there was even less space available to book with American Airlines miles than what expertflyer.com reports.

Bottom Line

There appears to be award space on Air Tahiti Nui from the United States to Tahiti that is not showing up in expertflyer.com’s award search results. The award space is at least bookable with Delta miles (with hefty fuel surcharges), and potentially American Airlines miles as well (fuel surcharge free).

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

Aerolineas Argentinas is cutting its Miami to Cordoba route in June 2016 and its routes from Buenos Aires to New York, Rome, and Barcelona at undisclosed dates according to these (1, 2) Spanish-language articles.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 2.56.53 AM

That’s a bit of a bummer because the Aerolineas Argentinas routes to the United States have great award space that you can book with Delta miles, and you can add connections within Argentina on Aerolineas Argentinas’ extensive route network for zero extra miles. Delta charges:

  • 30,000 miles one way in economy to Argentina
  • 62,500 miles in Business Class

Intriguingly, according to these Spanish-language articles (1, 2), American Airlines has met with Argentine officials about starting New York and Miami to Cordoba flights.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.12.28 AM The first article also says American will introduce new routes to Buenos Aires, which would shock me because it already flies there from Miami, Dallas, and New York. Flying from other hubs seems unnecessarily duplicative.

American charges 30,000 miles one way in economy and 57,500 miles one way in Business Class to Argentina. Unfortunately the current American Airlines flights don’t have great connectivity to the rest of Argentina. American’s partner LAN Argentina flies out of a different airport (AEP) in Buenos Aires than American flies into (EZE.)

American’s flights into Cordoba also wouldn’t have many connection options.
Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.13.05 AM

I am keeping an eye on these Argentina routes because it is the country where I spend the most time these days and these Cordoba routes in particular because I am thinking about flying there from the United States in October. Right now my top choices would be to fly American Airlines’ new routes if they are added or Copa connecting in Panama.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.26.46 AM

Copa Business Class award space is plentiful and cheap at 35,000 Asiana miles one way, but not a very good product compared to the flat beds that many airlines offer to South America.

Further Argentina Reading

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

Follow Me